Saving money is not an easy business. Saving money for college? Those are astrological sums of money that take a really long time to put away—under no circumstances should it be touched until it’s time for college.
Reddit user collegeorrehabaita found that criteria challenged by her husband and stepson.
After sharply rebuking them, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to make sure she’d done the right thing.
“AITA for not using my daughter’s college fund for my stepson’s rehab?”
Our original poster, or OP, set up the circumstances leading to this conflict.
“The title basically sums it up, I suppose. My husband and I have been married for three years now, I have a daughter (15F[emale]) and he has a son (24M[ale]).”
“I am friendly with my stepson, but we aren’t close. He has a biological mother who is a perfectly fine woman, I’m not here to take the role of his mom.”
After a tough loss, OP and her family amassed quite a bit of money for her daughter to attend college.
“My late husband (my daughter’s father) died when my daughter was 6, we both contributed to her college fund.”
“My daughter’s paternal grandparents have also contributed a large amount. Right now, the fund has about $180,000.”
“My daughter is extremely bright, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mom. I truly believe she has the capacity to go to an Ivy league school, and her teachers have said she has the potential as well, and I don’t want costs to hold her back.”
“Our income would be too high to get any meaningful financial aid, and while there are a few merit based scholarships out there that she will be applying too, we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket and hope she gets it when it’s so competitive.”
“My current husband and I have separate finances, he doesn’t contribute at all to my daughter’s fund.”
And with stepson struggling with addiction, plenty of money was sunk into him too.
“My stepson is struggling with a heroin addiction, and has stolen money, jewelry, hierlooms, and electronics from us for drug money.”
“I understand that addiction is a disease, and I personally paid for an outpatient detox for him, which cost $1000, which failed. His father then paid for an outpatient rehab program, which cost $6500, which also didn’t work because he barely showed up.”
“He promised us he’d do better next time and he needed another chance, so I split the cost of another $6500 outpatient rehab program with my husband, which seemed to work during program, but he relapsed as soon as he got out of it.”
“I have spent so much money, time, and energy and it hasn’t helped at all.”
With a new idea for rehab, OP’s husband wanted to prioritize his son’s recovery over his stepdaughter’s education.
“My husband and my stepson want to try a 60-day inpatient rehab program, which will cost $30,000.”
“I had absolutely no idea where they were supposed to get the money for that, considering the thousands and thousands of dollars that were already spent, and the fact that we no longer had anything of value in our house.”
“They want to use my daughter’s college fund, which to me is absolutely off-limits. I feel like it’s completely unfair to my daughter to punish her for my stepson’s addiction, unfair to my late husband and his parents, but frankly, I don’t think spending $30,000 will work.”
“My husband thinks I’m an a**hole because I’m prioritizing my daughter’s education over his son’s life, and he believes medical needs come first.”
OP thinks her husband crossed the line irrevocably.
“He then asked my daughter if she’d be willing to use $30,000 from her fund to pay for her stepbrother’s rehab, and she got very quiet and did not answer.”
“He then got very upset with her and said she was being selfish. My daughter later told me that she didn’t want to give her stepbrother the money, but she felt so guilty, and I am furious at my husband for emotionally guilt-tripping my daughter like that.”
Redditors helped OP see where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit had no qualms about this: OP is not to blame here.
“NTA. ‘They want to use my daughter’s college fund, which to me is absolutely off-limits’.”
“That’s not up to you, them or anyone.”
“That’s your daughter’s money in all-but-name. Your former husband paid in to it.”
“Your daughter’s grandparents paid in to it. YOU paid in to it.”
“FOR HER. Not for some kid that half these people don’t know.”
“‘He then got very upset with her and said she was being selfish’. Why did you allow this?”
“Why are you allowing this to be your daughter’s concern? Why is she being put in this position?”
“I get that you’re furious, but this is WAY over the line. This shouldn’t be ‘AITA for refusing,’ this should be ‘So I left this guy because he crossed a line and made my daughter feel accountable for an addict because she wouldn’t give 30k designated for her future’.”
“Addiction is a serious problem and I’m sorry for your stepson and his dad, but not sorry enough to excuse what they’re trying to pull here.”
“Your daughter is not a cash-cow for them to raid when it suits. This kid has stolen your money and your property—he’s trying to steal your daughter’s future.”~cyfermax
“This is not a question that should ever have been asked of your daughter, and I hope that you didn’t give permission for your husband to ask.”
“Your daughter is fifteen. She is too young to make a decision about a large sum of money.”
“She should never have been put in that position, and your husband is absolutely an a**hole for asking, and for telling a child that she is selfish for not sacrificing a lot of money to pay for his son’s issues.”
“NTA. Protect your daughter.”~Mysterious-System680
“I’ll share a personal story. My son was a heroin addict and we spent a lot of money on various rehabs, including what should have been spent for his college.”
“Nothing worked and eventually we told him that we would no longer be contributing to rehab, bail money or lawyers. He could sit in jail and enjoy the baloney sandwiches and the public defender.”
“We still loved him and I allowed him to take showers at my house and eat my food, but that was it.”
“Eventually he got tired of living like a bum. All he had was his addiction. One day all on his own he decided to apply to the local outpatient methadone clinic.”
“They had paperwork requirements. He did them. There were other hoops to jump through … and he fulfilled them.”
“If they said show up at 5 am, he got up early and went. I didn’t nag him or remind him. This was all new, encouraging behavior and I was holding my breath hoping that he really was serious this time.”
“That was six or seven years ago. He’s been off opiates completely for five years after slowly weaning off the methadone.”
“Now he works for a federal agency, lives with his non-addict girlfriend, has money in the bank and applied for and received a pardon from his state for his misdemeanors which is how he was able to get this job.”
“We let him hit rock bottom and detached from his addiction while still loving him. It could have gone either way.”
“We were just lucky. But HE had to climb out of that hole. If your stepson really wants to change his life, it’s up to him to do it.”~AMerrickanGirl
“It’s not acceptable that he asked her. NTA for saying no, you will be TA if you don’t put a stop to this IMMEDIATELY.”
“No matter what it takes. Protect your damn daughter from the guilt tripping. And make sure your husband doesn’t have access to any of her financials.”
“Talk to the bank you have the account through to see if you can set up password protection so no one else can access anything.”
“Your daughter is likely going to feel at fault if something happens to her stepbrother. You need to get you and her into family therapy and talk about this together. Your husband needs therapy as well, but separate from your daughter.”
“Your husband probably won’t take it well if you daughter says she resents him and her stepbrother.”
“You need to tell your husband he crossed a line. This isn’t ok and if he keeps this up, you need to leave because your number 1 priority has to be your daughter.”
“No one else is looking out for her, so you have to.”~justauser34
Redditors are strongly wary that OP’s daughter was ever brought into this at all.
“I agree NTA. Also worth noting that another desperate person is in the mix here.”
“I’m SO sorry to say this but the son needs to work this out on his own now. He’s stolen from you? In the home you live in with your daughter I assume.”
“He knows your daughter has money coming to her? How are you going to protect her from his manipulations in the future?”
“Stop her student digs being robbed? Stop her from credit fraud?”
“Desperate people do desperate things and he is more than capable.”
“I say this from a place of experience (best buddy at high school) addicts do mean well when it gets tough, but struggle with rehab programs because they are outside of their day to day experience, and relapse. His current connections and network are too embedded in his drug life.”
“If anything you need to work with your husband to find a low cost rehab somewhere else entirely, to send his son to a whole new place (IDK where you live, but overseas/interstate) to start a new life, to make new friends, and lose his drug connections.”
“And get space for you as a couple and your child. Good luck, protect your daughter.”~watchingonsidelines
“NTA. Wow what an enormous a**hole your husband is! I mean I get that he’s desperate to get his hands on your money to try again to help his son.”
“But to ask your daughter for the money and then get angry with her for not even answering is a low I haven’t seen on AITA in a long time. Honestly that’s divorce material.”~zwergschnauzer
“NTA and let me tell you this, spending 30K on something else that is your child’s inheritance.”
“Her mother, her father, her grandparents paid into it and your husband wants it to give to his son, with no guarantees it will help.”
“The fact is you’ve already spent a fortune on rehab and it hasn’t worked because your stepson has this addiction as hard as it may be to hear this.”
“He has to want to get clean, and the fact is, so far since he’s relapsed so many times, indicates that he doesn’t. And now your husband wants 30k, and the worst thing is that he guilt-tripped your own child to get the money.”
“He sounds like a horrible toxic person, even though I know you must love him, and all of that, but he’s enabled his son’s behaviour ‘stole money, jewelry, heirlooms, and electronics from us for drug money’.”
“Right, so, with those heirlooms he stole your daughter’s past since they were her heirlooms too I assume. And now your husband wants to steal her future.”
“Don’t let him have it, and make sure that no one else in this family knows about this money.”
“Because if your stepson can steal your stuff like that, there is no way after knowing about that trust fund he won’t try to get some of it.”
“Begging, borrowing, intimidation, gaslighting. It’s easily done.”
“She’s a teenage girl, having a grown-a** man trying to get hold of her money, that’s as sad as it is.”~AngelIslington
“Definitely NTA. I find it very manipulative of him to try get money out of your daughter from a fund he hasn’t contributed to.”
“IMO your stepson has had enough chances. He’s likely to not go to rehab or escape or just relapse immediately afterwards given his track record.”~Psjthekid
And people are advising that OP protect her daughter’s money from her husband and stepson.
“NTA Your husband is out of line in his ask. I find it interesting that he is harming your daughter in his quest to save his son. In some of your responses you show your husband compassion because he loves his child.”
“At that same time, your child is being harmed by his actions and your compassion is giving him a pass for this.”
“Many times when a marriage ends; there is a moment that can be pinpointed as the beginning of said end. THIS is it for yours. Remember it weeks, months or years from now.”~Misha220
“NTA. It’s your money and your daughter’s future. This wouldn’t be fair especially since so many people contributed to give your daughter a good start.”
“I get that he is a father and wants to help his son but it’s not your obligation to pay for his rehab.”
“He is an adult who has both parents and I don’t see why you should feel guilty for not wanting to spend your daughter’s money on him.”
“Also your husband’s question to your daughter was disgusting but I’m glad the girl stood up for herself.”~Antithinks
Addiction makes things extremely tough on families. It puts an emotional, physical and financial strain on even the most stable of households.
What this mother ultimately decides to do is unknown, but she nor her daughter are not a**holes according to Reddit for not handing over the money given by her late father and his family for her future.